Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76 was elected the 266th pope and took the name Francis.

The election March 13 came on the first full day of the conclave on the conclave's fifth ballot. It was a surprisingly quick conclusion to a conclave that began with many plausible candidates and no clear favorite.

The Latin American pope, a Jesuit, was chosen by at least two-thirds of the 115 cardinals from 48 countries, who cast their ballots in secret in the Sistine Chapel.

His election was announced in Latin from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, to a massive crowd in the square below and millions watching around the world.

White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney at 7:05 p.m. signaling that the cardinals had chosen a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI. At 7:07 p.m., the bells of St. Peter's Basilica began pealing continuously to confirm the election.

At 8:12 p.m., French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the senior cardinal in the order of deacons, appeared at the basilica balcony and read out in Latin: "I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend lord, Lord Jorge, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bergoglio, who has taken for himself the name Francis."

The crowd in the square responded with cheers, applause and the waving of national flags.

A respected Italian journal said he was the cardinal with the second-highest number of votes on each of the four ballots in the 2005 conclave.

Cardinal Bergoglio has had a growing reputation as a very spiritual man with a talent for pastoral leadership serving in a region with the largest number of the world's Catholics.

Since 1998, he has been archbishop of Buenos Aires, where his style is low-key and close to the people.

He rides the bus, visits the poor, lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals. To many in Buenos Aires, he is known simply as "Father Jorge."

He also has created new parishes, restructured the administrative offices, led pro-life initiatives and started new pastoral programs, such as a commission for divorcees. He co-presided over the 2001 Synod of Bishops and was elected to the synod council, so he is well-known to the world's bishops.

The cardinal has also written books on spirituality and meditation and has been outspoken against abortion and same-sex marriages.

In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to tell Catholics to protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it could "seriously injure the family," he said.

He also said adoption by same-sex couples would result in "depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother."

In 2006, he criticized an Argentine proposal to legalize abortion under certain circumstances as part of a wide-ranging legal reform. He accused the government of lacking respect for the values held by the majority of Argentines and of trying to convince the Catholic Church "to waver in our defense of the dignity of the person."

His role often forced him to speak publicly about the economic, social and political problems facing his country. His homilies and speeches are filled with references to the fact that all people are brothers and sisters and that the church and the country need to do what they can to make sure that everyone feels welcome, respected and cared for.

While not overtly political, Cardinal Bergoglio has not tried to hide the political and social impact of the Gospel message,

 

Comments

ROBERT KILLOREN | 3/15/2013 - 1:56pm

Perhaps in Cardinal Bergoglio's choice of name was also a link to one of his Society's early members, St Francis Xavier. He too might be a fitting model for a Pope -- especially an openness to integrating the Christian faith into the culture of the local Church. Perhaps the Vatican can back off on its oppression of those who attempt to make the Gospel relavant to different societies through inculturation.

TOM KILCOYNE | 3/14/2013 - 10:42pm

Regarding the first comment, there is an addendum to the article that reads: "This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio's complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio's 'holiday home'. This has been corrected."

Asnate Dimza | 3/14/2013 - 4:23am

Fr. Martin, you have been a bit wrong in your Why I should be Pope: cardinals have invented another way how to find out what a Jesuit will say when elected pope.

Michael Barberi | 3/14/2013 - 5:19pm

Let's pray for the new pope that he will solidify the Catholic Church in accordance with God's will of love and charity.

Pope Francis will have many challenging issues. One of his priorities will be to reform the Roman Curia and institute Vatican II's call for collegiality. If the Pope is the supreme decision-maker along with the Roman Curia in a quasi-decision making role, and the bishops collectively remain an infrequent and partial consultant to the Pope (and theologians and the laity have no voice) on doctrine formation and Church teaching, then all we will see is a rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic. In other words, Catholics will continue to migrate away from the Church and many sexual ethical teachings will continued to be not received.

The poor in spirit and the suffering caused by moral dilemma must be adequately addressed especially: the divorced and remarried, seropositve couples, responsible use of contraception for good and just reasons in marriage, to name just a few. Few deny that direct abortion is immoral, but if the mother's life is threatened with certainty by a pregnancy and the fetus cannot survive inside or outside the womb with certainty, then the only morally right decision is to terminate the pregnancy to save one life rather than to allow two to die. This is not direct abortion.

Carlos Orozco | 3/14/2013 - 12:37am

¡Ven, Espíritu Santo, y renueva la faz de la Tierra!

Vince Killoran | 3/13/2013 - 11:33pm

A few minutes of hope and then the details arrived. His humility is impressive but not his views on sexuality, reproductive rights, or gay rights. Awaiting more about '70s collaboration charges. Even his advocacy for the poor seems limited. To paraphrase Dom Camara, did he ask why they were poor?

MICHAEL GRIFFIN | 3/13/2013 - 10:43pm

God bless the new Pope. It's too bad Pedro Arrupe isn't alive to see this

ed gleason | 3/13/2013 - 8:00pm

I have hope, but there will no doubt be a thorough vetting of Pope Francis's stances during the 70s military dictatorship. It was a horror but let's have patience and prayer before judgement.. His quotes on the other thread spark hope . .

Tim O'Leary | 3/13/2013 - 7:16pm

The first Jesuit who brings the true charism of St. ignatius to the papacy, a humble man who lives the social gospel, a great defender of Catholics from the aggressive secularists in Argentina, and the first Latin American. What an amazing choice of the Holy Spirit. No doubt we will see profound splits developing on the left side of politics between those who say they side with the poor and those who are laissez faire on sexual morality. Let us pray his pontificate will bring more Catholics to lives of deeper holiness, more Christians to the fullness of the faith, and more secularists to Christ and goodness.

JIM MCCREA | 3/13/2013 - 6:53pm

Is there anyone familiar with these accusations by Hugh O'Shaughnessy in 2011 to shed any further light on them?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/jan/04/argenitina-vi...

snip:

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church's collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church's complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio's name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.

TOM KILCOYNE | 3/14/2013 - 10:44pm

Please see an addendum to the article at the link you provided. "This article was amended on 14 March 2013. The original article, published in 2011, wrongly suggested that Argentinian journalist Horacio Verbitsky claimed that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio connived with the Argentinian navy to hide political prisoners on an island called El Silencio during an inspection by human rights monitors. Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio's complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio's 'holiday home'. This has been corrected."